Blogs & Comment

Winners & Losers: Elon Musk shows off his D, SodaStream goes flat

Perhaps next he’ll invent a car powered by publicity

 Elon Musk

More like “HYPErloop” amirite?

Elon Musk dressed as Dr. Evil, stroking a hairless cat with the SpaceX Dragon rocket in the background

The billionaire Tesla co-founder recently raised eyebrows when he tweeted that it’s “about time to unveil the D and something else.” Yes, Musk’s choice of words was poor, but his brain is too busy thinking about Hyperloops and colonizing Mars to worry about how our puny human brains might misinterpret him, okay? In any event, reporters fell over themselves speculating what Elon Musk was talking about. The leading theories were that “D” referred to either an all-wheel drive Tesla Model S or a completely self-driving vehicle. The mystery product turned out to be something in between. Musk unveiled the new Tesla P85D yesterday, an all-electric, dual motor luxury vehicle that comes with a handful of autonomous features, such as the ability change lanes on its own. Other car manufacturers already deploy similar features, so Tesla is playing catch-up in some ways. In retrospect, the new Tesla seems rather pedestrian coming from a man who muses about flying cars and the day when robots replace humans, but at least he possesses a superhuman ability to generate publicity.


Don’t cross the streams!

Infomercial hosts exploding a SodaStream machine

Like the Slap Chop, the George Foreman Grill, and so many other kitchen gadgets before it, the appeal of SodaStream’s home carbonation kit is fading. The company warned of dismal third quarter results this week, sending its share price down by more than 20% in one day. The company’s CEO admitted SodaStream hasn’t been able to attract new customers as quickly as anticipated, particularly in the United States. SodaStream has made a huge marketing push in the past couple of years with two Super Bowl ads, including one with Scarlett Johansson. But not only has the Israeli company been hit with calls for a boycott because of its manufacturing facility in the disputed West Bank, it seems changing consumer habits are hurting sales, too. Americans aren’t chugging back sugary carbonated beverages like they used to, primarily for health reasons. SodaStream now plans to position itself as a healthy alternative by emphasizing that its flavoured syrups do not contain aspartame or high-fructose corn syrup, and by launching a new zero-calorie line this month. These moves could help, but as far as we’re concerned, dumping ScarJo for Kim Mitchell is the real way to win over consumers.